We tested the Sony Xperia X camera: better processed, much detail but with aspects to polish

Over the years a smartphone camera has become something of a cornerstone on which manufacturers have tried to raise the bar on their high-end smartphones. If there is practically maximum equality in screen dimensions, performance or even finish, the high-end camera is where we can find the most differences today. Or at least more relevant and objective.

A few weeks after it reaches the market, in Xataka we have been able to test the camera of the Sony Xperia X, the most balanced model of the new family of high-end terminals from the Japanese. As in previous generations, the Japanese company places a lot of interest in the photographic component, which this year comes with the novelties of the interface, better processing and the hybrid predictive approach. These are our first impressions with the Sony Xperia X camera.

The theoretical base of the Xperia X camera

Before we get down to work and tell you what it has been like to go for a walk in Tokyo with the Xperia X to be able to test your camera, let's review the technical arguments of your camera.

The sensor of the new Xperia X does not reduce resolution as its most powerful rivals are doing, but maintains the 23 megapixels that are almost a classic of its franchise phones. This resolution is practically double that which is being placed as standard (12 megapixels).

Here Sony's competitive advantage is in the size of the sensor it mounts, 1 / 2.3 inches, the largest of all its direct rivals, so it partially compensates for the light it is able to capture (its aperture is f2. 0, smaller than the f1.8 that we are already seeing in rivals) must be spread over more photodiodes. The maximum sensitivity, which goes up to 12800 ISO, also somewhat compensates for this handicap.

Having more resolution in its sensor allows Sony to offer a digital zoom of up to 5x and the theoretical greater capacity for detail in scenes when we want to get closer. It also has in its favor a 24mm lens that is one of the widest in the industry. Keep in mind that the maximum resolution is obtained when we maintain the native format of the sensor, which is 4/3. If we opt for a more traditional one, 9/16, the resolution is already reduced.

As for the secondary camera, it also remains on paper at a high level. Its sensor does not fall short of anything: 13 MP, 1/3 inch size and f2.0 aperture, as well as 22mm optics to easily cover our face. The maximum sensitivity reaches 6400 ISO.

Up to here what the Xperia X camera offers us was known to us. The main evolution is called a predictive hybrid approach, which draws on object tracking technology and algorithms that determine an object's likely path through the scene. To use it you have to click on the screen on the object to "chase" and it will stay focused for when you want to shoot. With this mode Sony seeks to improve one of the problems that we detected in the Xperia Z5 test, and that occurred when we used the automatic mode and the scene was out of focus in some moving objects that should have been well defined.

The Xperia X camera tested

Given the theory, it is time to get down to work with the Xperia X camera. In Xataka we took her for a walk around Tokyo to check how she behaves in different scenarios, both day and night.

In scenes with sufficient light, the Xperia X's camera is correct with the exposure and offers a realistic and intense color, but above all, a great level of detail thanks to its 23 megapixels

In light and general scenes, the Xperia X camera performs a correct exposure, without overexposure problems and what we liked the most, a more intense color reproduction than in previous generations while remaining faithful and realistic.

In the following scene we can perfectly differentiate and appreciate the wide color range of greens of the different trees. As for the detail, the 23 megapixels make us have a lot, with a correct processing although it can be improved at the edges of the image, where we lose definition and the branches of the trees get quite stuck.

In the next scene, the Xperia X's camera again leaves us with a great level of detail without excessive processing while being able to balance a background where neither the brightly lit areas are burned nor do we lose information in the shadows. This more than correct work in a scene with enough dynamic range is one of the improvements that we especially value in the Xperia X camera, since in previous generations the processor was not able to keep them afloat.

One of the novelties of the Xperia X camera also passed through our hands. In our test we were able to verify that the system correctly tracks the objects, keeps them in focus, but for now it does not seem to be a differentiating function of the terminal. In night scenes, logically, that monitoring suffers more.

When we go to the interior scenes and low light is when the camera of the Xperia X begins to have more problems, although the results are also more consistent than in previous generations. Sony still does not achieve a balance that always guarantees good shots, and that is where we continue to miss an optical stabilization that does not make the terminal have to raise the ISO to avoid shaking the image and therefore more processing must be applied to reduce the noise that will be generated.

In general, the Xperia X's camera collects less light than direct rivals like the Galaxy S7, but the processing seems more controlled and better managed and does not introduce excessive noise. In the following scene we have compared the results between the Xperia X (left) and the Galaxy S7 (right).

The white balance is completely different in both cases, with the Galaxy S7 pulling warm while the Xperia X shifts to a cooler hue. The processing is similar in the introduction of noise but it seems to us that the scene is better represented in the Sony shot.

In night scenes there is improvement in the processing and more consistency in the results, but we continue to lack optical stabilization that helps to avoid having to process the final image as much.

When the scene is excessively deficient in luminosity, the Sony Xperia X accuses the excess of pixels and f2.0 aperture, leaving the scene less luminous, although it resolves better than in previous editions, with enough detail without processing or excessive noise throwing away the theoretical possibility of the camera. The improvement could be even better with the help of optical stabilization. The SteadyShot system seems suitable for video mode but it is increasingly necessary to raise the ante in photographic mode now that rivals have improved so much in night scenes.

Regarding the experience of use, we noticed a good step forward but it continues to have that tendency already detected to take between shooting and the availability of the image to see it in the gallery, although this delay does not apply to when we want to continue shooting without reviewing the Previous image taken. It is true that they are faster now than before but not as fast as the competition. Here surely we are facing the consequences of a fairly large resolution and a processed processed.

See complete gallery »Sony Xperia X samples (9 photos)

In the video recording mode, which we have also been able to test, the Sony Xperia X does not launch for 4K video, something strange being Sony (which has UHD devices such as televisions in its catalog where it makes sense to be able to generate its own content at that resolution) and stays in 1080p. Here is a sample.

After this first contact with the Xperia X camera, we are already wishing we could have the terminal more time to carry out both the complete analysis and the comparison with the great photographic terminals of the year.

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